Remember how I was in raptures about Korea and Japan? I could see myself going back and exploring more. And taking Mr S to experience both places. The food. The friendliness of the people. The countryside. The buildings both modern and old. The parks.
Well, before last night I wouldn’t care if I never saw China again. Not even seeing The Great Wall or The Forbidden Palace would tempt me back. The awful pollution. Of all types. Air. Rubbish. Visual. Noise.
And oh! the traffic. And crowds.
I had seen nothing that would warrant bringing Mr S back to the places I’ve seen. Except to see the shit mess.
This is going to be a long vent/warning/whinge/critical description. But don’t worry. I finally found some positives and will write about them next post. Or the one after. If you don’t want any negativity in your life, come back in a couple of days.
Let’s start with the obvious: air pollution. Dar commented in my last post that when she sees photos of air pollution, she immediately thinks China. Sad, isn’t it?
Imagine knowing your air would never get better!
Imagine only seeing the blue sky a couple of times a year!
The air is thick with fine particles. And it started getting to me after a couple of days. Not only physically – sore throat, headache – but psychologically – anxious that I would get worse from no air and have increasing difficulty to breath.
What does one hotel we stayed in do to compensate for the air pollution? Pump scent through the air conditioning. Imagine living in one big glade plug-in? I am sensitive to artificial scents. I woke with a rip roaring headache. And I left my bag of painkillers at home!!! Luckily my travelling companion helped out.
What added to the head ache is the noise pollution. They all beep the horns to let other vehicles they are along side them. Constant, continuous, continual beeping. “For fuck’s sake, we can see you’re in the middle of two lanes. You don’t need to beep.” My poor companion, she never heard such rough language.
And the shouting! On a 3 hour fast train trip we had multple people shouting on phones. “Mate, you don’t need a fucking phone. The other person can hear you. The whole fucking world can hear you.” Two conversations went for an hour each. Luckily for them the train comes with power points so they could shout without worrying about their phone running flat!!!
And others play their music, TV shows and phone games. No head phones! “Oh isn’t it great that she is sharing the sound from her TV game show! Maybe I should share some Aussie rock and I can sing along and entertain the carriage?” [Note to self: the $20 Aldi sound cancelling headphones I bought the day before I flew out are gold. Just don’t leave them in packed luggage of going on a Chinese train. Have them handy.]
And then every so often, on the train, in the street, in a taxi, you hear a hoking, a deep coughing. And you know what is coming next. Someone is about to spit out a goley. On train again: “Oh fuck. That man just spat into the bin and got it all on the flip lid.” Are you paying attention? Has all this whinging got it you?
Well I haven’t finished. Not even about the phlegm. We were in the front seat of the carriage and the bin was to the left of us. I sat and watched the phlegm slide down the flap that everyone had to push to put their rubbish in. Yes, there are grots everywhere but spitting is pretty standard here. My companion blames the air pollution. But they could spit in a tissue and throw the tissue away.
It is hard to go to a happy place when theres so much noise. Staring out the window doesn’t help. The place is one big construction site. Not very old buildings, but obviously poorly built, being demolished and slums waiting to be demolished and towers going up everywhere. Let’s build a beautiful (or even an ugly but utilitarian) building. But not worry about the mess all around. (Of course all this demolition and building adds dust and air pollution and noise pollution,)
Which brings us to the next pollution: litter and rubbish dumping. Basically the outdoor things of beauty are small, overwhelmed by the rubbish, rubble, dumped building product (probably all contaminated with asbestos) etc
All this adds to the visual pollution, not helped by all the massive advertising and flashing lights.
Three nights and I was ready for home. Felt I wouldn’t even last. Was prepared to find some oxygen tanks.